A bet with a favorite can be a scary thing.
This is especially the case in the NFL when any game's complexion can change on any play. Look at Week 10—Jacksonville was the underdog last week as expected but came away with its first win of the season over Tennessee.
As is the case any week, Week 11 features several favorites in seemingly good positions. A thorough breakdown will more than convince brave bettors to take the dive regardless of the line.
Below we'll do just that for three matchups after a look at the weekend's slate of games. Enjoy.
|Away Team||Home Team||Line||Prediction (ATS)|
|Atlanta Falcons||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||ATL -1.5||TB|
|New York Jets||Buffalo Bills||BUF -1||NYJ|
|Detroit Lions||Pittsburgh Steelers||DET -2.5||DET|
|Washington Redskins||Philadelphia Eagles||PHI -4.5||PHI|
|San Diego Chargers||Miami Dolphins||SD -1.5||MIA|
|Baltimore Ravens||Chicago Bears||CHI -3||CHI|
|Cleveland Browns||Cincinnati Bengals||CIN -6||CLE|
|Oakland Raiders||Houston Texans||HOU -7||HOU|
|Arizona Cardinals||Jacksonville Jaguars||ARI -7.5||ARI|
|Kansas City Chiefs||Denver Broncos||DEN -8||DEN|
|Minnesota Vikings||Seattle Seahawks||SEA -13||SEA|
|Green Bay Packers||New York Giants||NYG -5||NYG|
|San Francisco 49ers||New Orleans Saints||NO -3||NO|
|New England Patriots||Carolina Panthers||CAR -2.5||NE|
Lines via Vegas Insider.
Chicago Bears (-3) Over Baltimore Ravens
The Chicago Bears will be without starting quarterback Jay Cutler this weekend when the Baltimore Ravens come to town, per ESPN's Adam Schefter:
Bears QB Jay Cutler is out Sunday vs. Ravens.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) November 11, 2013
Yet that is in no way a reason to not roll with the Bears.
In fact, the Bears offense will not skip a beat thanks to backup Josh McCown. Here's how McCown has fared this season in Cutler's spot:
|Week 7 at WAS||204||1||0||119.6|
|Week 9 at GB||272||2||0||90.7|
|Week 9 vs. DET*||62||1||0||123.4|
ESPN. *Just nine pass attempts.
Now take into account Baltimore is not exactly the dominant defensive team of old. The Ravens rank in the bottom half of the NFL as they allow 239.7 passing yards per game.
The Chicago defense has been an utter disappointment at 27.4 points allowed per game. That's fine, as Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco has thrown 12 touchdowns to 11 interceptions. Star running back Ray Rice averages 2.5 yards per carry.
At home, Marc Trestman's offense will continue on at a steady pace. There is no reason to believe the Ravens offense will suddenly turn into a capable unit. This is an extremely safe bet.
Arizona Cardinals (-7.5) Over Jacksonville Jaguars
Sorry, Jacksonville fans—the good times are over.
As mentioned, Jacksonville hit bettors where it hurt last week—the wallet.
Trends are important when analyzing lines. Jacksonville's positive trend is at an end in Week 11 when the Arizona Cardinals make the trip across the country from the desert.
Arizona is quietly elite against the run as it allows just 86.9 yards per game—good for the No. 3 overall rank. The Cardinals are a bit more susceptible to the pass (they rank in bottom half of the league), but Jacksonville quarterback Chad Henne has not exactly impressed in his last three starts:
Alas, Mark Long of the Associated Press reports Henne will remain the starter:
No surprise, Jaguars sticking with QB Chad Henne for Sunday's game against the Cardinals— Mark Long (@APMarkLong) November 11, 2013
Offensively Arizona is a mixed bag with Carson Palmer under center, but the emergence of rookie running back Andre Ellington has made life easier. Ellington has 209 yards and a score in his last two games on just 26 carries.
Jacksonville is back to being Jacksonville. The 5-4 Cardinals are a positive trend (two-game win streak) worth a ride in Week 11.
Houston Texans (-7) Over Oakland Raiders
If bettors were asked to guess which team enters the game between Oakland and Houston with a longer losing streak, many likely would have responded with the latter.
Houston has not won since mid-September and rides a seven-game skid when it welcomes Oakland to town—owner of a two-game losing streak.
Despite the trends, Houston has lost its last three contests by a combined seven points. Two of those losses came to playoff contenders such as Kansas City and Indianapolis.
The Texans have an answer at quarterback in Case Keenum. He threw for 201 yards and three scores in a loss last week and 350 and three the week prior.
Case Keenum needs 9 more passes without an INT to break #Texans record for consecutive passes without INT. Record is 110 held by Matt Schaub— James Palmer (@JPalmerCSN) November 13, 2013
Which team wins?
Remember that Oakland's defense is just two games removed from a seven-touchdown disaster at the hands of Nick Foles and Philadelphia. As a whole, the Raiders allow over 24 points per game and on average score just over 18.
Houston touts the NFL's No. 1 pass defense and it will be more than enough to shut down Oakland and quarterback Terrelle Pryor (410 yards and three interceptions in past two games).
Oakland has regressed into the team many thought would be selecting early in the 2014 draft. Bettors would be wise to take advantage.